Young girl's memoir the face of war

By Observer

Bana Alabed and her mother Fatemah have rebuilt their lives as refugees. Photo / Getty Images
Bana Alabed and her mother Fatemah have rebuilt their lives as refugees. Photo / Getty Images

A7-year-old Syrian refugee whose tweets from war-torn Aleppo won her a global following is writing a book.

Bana Alabed's Dear World will recount her experiences in Syria and how she and her family rebuilt their lives as refugees.

Simon & Schuster plans to publish it in the US this northern autumn. The self-declared peace activist took to the social media network that made her name to announce the news.

"I am happy to announce my book will be published by Simon & Schuster. The world must end all the wars now in every part of the world," she tweeted to her 368,000 followers.

In a statement issued through her publisher, Bana added: "I hope my book will make the world do something for the children and people of Syria and bring peace to children all over the world who are living in war."

Bana came to prominence in September 2016 after she began tweeting descriptions of her experiences of siege in the Syrian city.

Documenting the impact of hunger, airstrikes and civil war, she caught the imagination of followers with her longing for a peaceful childhood and fear for the safety of herself and her family.

A Harry Potter fan, she received the ebook editions directly from JK Rowling after complaining that she could not get hold of physical copies of the books last November.

Bana Alabed and her mother Fatemah have rebuilt their lives as refugees. Photo / Getty Images
Bana Alabed and her mother Fatemah have rebuilt their lives as refugees. Photo / Getty Images

In December, Rowling took part in a Twitter campaign #WhereisBana to put pressure on authorities to find the Alabed family after Bana's online presence briefly went dark in December. It was later revealed the family was being evacuated from Aleppo.

Bana has also used the account to plead for peace to Russian president Vladimir Putin, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Barack Obama and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. At the end of the year, her family were allowed into Turkey, where they met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and were given permission to remain.

Likening her to Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who was given refugee status in the UK after being shot in a horrific attack, Simon & Schuster senior editor Christine Pride said: "Bana's experiences and message transcend the headlines, and pierce through the political noise and debates, to remind us of the human cost of war and displacement."

The publisher will also launch a young readers' edition under its Salaam Reads imprint. Aided by her English-speaking mother Fatemah, the young activist courted controversy in February with a video addressed to US President Donald Trump about the travel ban.

In the message, she asked if she now qualified as a terrorist and whether the president had ever gone hungry. However, her opposition to Trump did not extend to his recent airstrikes in Syria, for which she has tweeted her support.

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